Tuesday June 18, 2024

Loving our enemies perfects us

Good News Reflections:
Making scripture meaningful to your daily life
by Terry Modica

“We don’t have to like everyone, but to be united to Jesus we do have to love everyone.”

Good News Reflection for:

Tuesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time
June 18, 2024

Today’s Prayer:

Holy Spirit: Empower me to be merciful to those who are difficult to love. May I be able to make sacrifices for them, praying to our Father for their needs and worries, and serving them with concrete works of love. Amen.

Daily Prayer and ReflectionPowerful Daily Prayer & Reflection:

Today’s Readings:

1 Kings 21:17-29
Ps 51:3-6ab,11,16
Matthew 5:43-48
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

Loving our enemies perfects us

[ Listen to the podcast of this reflection ]

Today’s Gospel reading is the key to understanding God’s mercy. If we do what Jesus is telling us here, then we will begin to understand more deeply that God loves us no matter what, even when we behave like enemies instead of his friends.

He says: “Love your enemies.” Who is your enemy? An enemy is anyone whose will, desires, or agenda is conflicting with yours.

It’s easy to love those who are not in conflict with us, but when we have to deal with someone who’s causing a problem, the genuineness of our love is tested: Are we really concerned about them — or only about ourselves?

The more costly the conflict, the harder it is to love our opponents. But love is a choice more than a feeling. We choose to love, not because our enemies deserve our love, but because Jesus loves them so much that he died for them. If we don’t respond to our enemies with love (compassion and forgiveness), we are choosing to turn away from Jesus, because God is love.

Loving unconditionally means to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Perfection in the Bible does not mean committing no sins and making no mistakes. Spiritual perfection means to love whole-heartedly, under all conditions.

“Under all conditions” does not mean putting up with evil. Healthy boundaries are also a part of unconditional love. People who cross the line by sinning against us need to experience consequences that will give them an opportunity to learn and grow. They might think that we’re unloving, but we know our motives, we know how much we love them, and God surely knows.

We don’t have to like everyone, but to be united to Jesus we do have to love everyone. We should not unite ourselves to abusers by remaining with them, nor should we ignore a situation that needs to be corrected, but we are called to do good to all, just as our Father gives rain to the just and the unjust.

If we trust God to make good come from the bad that happens as we deal with our enemies, we are living in his love. If we do good instead of retaliating or perpetuating the bad, we are remaining in his love. If we deal with others the way Jesus taught by example, we are united to his love.

Our enemies help us discover the limits of our love. When we react to their sins in unChrist-like ways, we learn of our own need to seek forgiveness. We realize that we have to rely on the Holy Spirit for supernatural love. We’re perfected. Praise God for our enemies!

For a Bible Study on the entire Sermon on the Mount, visit wordbytes.org/bible-study/holy-living-1

To reflect further on this issue use our WordByte called: “How Cabbage can Teach Us to Love our Enemies” @ https://wordbytes.org/franciscan-moments/cabbage/

© 2024 by Terry A. Modica

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Cecilia Rudbeck
Cecilia Rudbeck
June 18, 2024 11:20 am

Thank you for today´s wonderful reflection!